Driven to Action
It is such a divine coincidence that three weeks following the major certification seminar I attended in Orlando, Florida and being so inspired about including Youth Leadership Training into our service menu, I was invited by Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) President to a Youth Summit in Washington D.C. It happens that while in Orlando, I heard John Maxwell and most of the speakers at the seminar repeatedly stating the viewpoint that “everything rises and falls on leadership”. There could not have been a better time for this summit because in this very season, my heart was focused on Youth Leadership Development and the agenda for the three-day event zeroed in on “Promoting Youth-inclusive Policies for Growth/Youth Livelihoods and Learning Program”.
During presentations on the first day, I had the opportunity to be surrounded and educated by influential leaders from the continent of Africa and the United States. These instrumental leaders have captured the revelation that “leadership is a process” and a country’s quality of leaders is dependent on how early and how much those in power begin or are willing to invest to develop the population targeted to navigate the country in the future.
The Honorable Ministers from Senegal, Mali and The Gambia shared the different programs that are currently available to promote Youth education and create employment opportunities in their respective countries. Among the domestic presenters were representatives from GYIN, The Mayor’s Office of African Affairs, Center for Excellence in Public Leadership – GWU, Center for Learning and Development District of Columbia and District of Columbia Government. It was mind blowing to get introduced to all the effective programs that are available to Youth in the District of Columbia some of which can be replicated in Africa.
Then came day two – the session at Capitol Hill. Again, we had the diplomats from Africa and this time, they were joined by the Chairperson of the National Youth Counsel in Uganda. Among the local representatives were Congressman/Chairman, Congress-member Bass, House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, International Youth Foundation (IYF), International Business Machines (IBM), World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Shea Yeleen and panel moderators from The Washington Post and Voice of America. I was really impressed by these leaders who are investing in youth leadership development programs because they are ready to pass on the baton to the next generation of equipped heirs. Listening to the delegates share their investments in Youths and programs in the continent rejuvenated me as I was able to envision a beacon of hope rise up in the world and specifically in Africa.
I have to admit that hearing leaders representing the African Society and a congress member make remarks like: “Africa is beaming in a generation of hope” and that “exposing the youth to different programs allows them to find their nitch/passion/place in society and groom their leadership skills” was uplifting. Now more than ever, I am challenged to contribute my quota to Youth leadership development especially for the future generation of the continent. I am challenged to do ‘what I do’ with a purpose and be very intentional about my contribution to the exponential growth of African Youth leaders. What will you do to help me meet this challenge?